What are your employment rights regarding the coronavirus vaccine?
How COVID-19 vaccines relate to employment law is an emerging concern that many employers and employees will have attention on during the upcoming months. Situations will exist where some employers require vaccination.
If you do not want to be vaccinated based on a disability or a religious belief, practice or observance, what happens? What are your rights under the ADA or civil rights laws?
The EEOC Has Provided Guidelines for COVID-19 Vaccines
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has established certain guidelines that apply regarding how COVID-19 vaccines relate to employment law. It is understandable that employers want to create a safe work environment and protect their businesses against liability. Furthermore, while workers also want a safe work environment, they do not want to be subjected to civil rights violations, retaliation or other types of workplace discrimination.
Medical Screening for Vaccinations
Medical screening is necessary for individuals with disabilities that would predispose them to adverse reactions from vaccination. Even so, under existing laws, medical information obtained for vaccination screening purposes must be kept confidential. A third party, such as a doctor or pharmacy that is not your employer are within their legal rights to ask screening questions prior to vaccination. However, the employer does not have legal grounds to inquire about disabilities that would prevent vaccination.
Can You Lose Your Job Due to Not Being Vaccinated?
Before an employer can terminate an unvaccinated employee, the employer must offer reasonable accommodations. Alternatives may include working from home, changing work schedule hours or allowing the employee to perform his/her duties online in a remote location. Depending on the nature of the job, telework may or may not be possible. Also, the accommodation must not result in undue hardship for the employer.
In addition, your employer must assess four factors to determine whether a direct threat actually exists due to your not being vaccinated:
- Duration of the risk
- Nature and severity of potential harm
- Likelihood that potential harm will occur
- Imminence of potential harm
In other words, a direct threat must exist, and an unvaccinated worker would have to be exposing others at the worksite to the virus for an employer to terminate the employee. If a retaliation case were to arise as a result of job termination, the employer would have to prove the existence of a direct threat of contagion as the reason for termination.
Do You Believe Retaliation in the Workplace or Employee Discrimination Resulted in Job Loss?
If you believe your employer violated your rights, call the Law Office of Peter A. Romero today at (631) 257-5588 or contact us online.
We are glad to address your concerns.